* Posts by Warm Braw

1600 posts • joined 6 Sep 2013

Schneier warns of 'perfect storm': Tech is becoming autonomous, and security is garbage

Warm Braw
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Click Here To Kill Everybody

The anchor tag seems to be missing...

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US Supreme Court blocks internet's escape from state sales taxes

Warm Braw
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Re: Yo! Yank ... Er ....

I think the common sense answer is that you tax at the delivery location

Services like this already exist to help you avoid tax by having a delivery location in a tax-free state. The "common sense" approach might just mean they get the money instead of the states hoping to raise extra taxes...

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Microsoft CEO wades into ICE outcry: Cool it, we only do legacy mail

Warm Braw
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Re: Avoidance

laws in the U.S. are really more like guidelines

All laws in relatively democratic countries are like guidelines as they depend on widespread consent for their application and enforcement. If you don't have consent for a policy, then the process that controls the policy is largely irrelevant.

There is, of course, the wider philosophical point that the people entering the US to settle aren't US citizens and didn't get a vote on the laws, much as most of the people who have historically entered the US to settle weren't US citizens and didn't care what the local laws were. If a new population wants to displace the current one, law is irrelevant: the only thing that matters is how effective they are. My bet is that the migrants are the more hightly motivated.

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MSDN unleashes a fresh round of unintentional innuendo bingo

Warm Braw
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One of Kenneth Williams's most quoted lines is in his role as Julius Caesar

... was nicked from Take It From Here on the wireless: originality wasn't exactly a strong point of Carry On....

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EU negotiator: Crucial data adequacy deal will wait until UK hands in homework

Warm Braw
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This means making a new agreement. I don't really understand...

Well, you got it in the first sentence.

The UK has indicated it intends to leave the EU, which effectively means that everywhere in the EU treaties that the UK is mentioned, the UK is deleted. The treaties include provisions for other types of arrangements between the EU and non-EU countries, but the UK doesn't want to be part of any of those either. The scope for "new agreements" is pretty much limited by what can feasibly be neogtiated in 18 months and to which there will be no objections - not just from the other EU members, but from other countries who might feel that the UK may be getting special terms that weren't offered to them. Most of the time for negotiating with the EU has been wasted neogtiating within the British cabinet, so the scope for cutting "special" terms is pretty much zero by now.

If we want a negotiated deal, we need to know what we want and be present at the negotiations - we have shown much progress with neither - and be realistic about what can be achieved within the very limited timescale of the Article 50 process.

Of course, we have the option (with the agreement of the other EU members) of extending the talks, but that would presumably be an anathema to those who have bridled even at the prospect of transitional arrangements.

You really can't blame the EU. We're the ones who said we were leaving, wanted no part of EU institutions and yet are continually whining, "but we didn't mean we wanted to leave THAT"...

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Microsoft shoves US govt IT contract where ICE throws kids: Out of sight in a chain-link cage

Warm Braw
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Re: Have another quote

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

On the other hand, if you have no soul to start with...

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What can you do when the pup of programming becomes the black dog of burnout? Dude, leave

Warm Braw
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Working in IT is a magical, mysterious, and wonderful task

It's really just a job that you do in exchange for money. It's not the priesthood.

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Scrapping Brit cap on nurses, doctors means more room for IT folk

Warm Braw
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Re: More job displacement, yay

It has been the policy of successive governments to run down the training of such staff

It's also been the policy of successive governments to encourage a "flexible" labour force.

That might be fine in principle, but if the predominant view of labour is that it is essentially disposable, it doesn't exactly encourage either employers or employees to bother with training.

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Would you rather health data or finance data in the cloud?

Warm Braw
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Re: The proper question is...

Given that prominent in the adjacent "most read" columns is Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach, it's probably worth remembering that "other people's servers" can bear your own asset tags...

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Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo

Warm Braw
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The UK may relinquish that crown before long

I hope we give full credit to the EU for allowing us the right to be forgotten.

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AI built to track you through walls because, er, Parkinsons?

Warm Braw
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Re: Bone-breaking falls

push your granny over a few thousand times

It's not the act of falling you need to detect, it's just the difference between moving around and not moving around. Which, I agree, would probably rule out using students as test subjects...

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Warm Braw
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Having an elderly relative who has had a number of serious bone-breaking falls but seems to be wilfully courting further disaster on a daily basis, having a reliable means of knowing when to summon another ambulance that doesn't depend on having the entire house under video surveillance would at first sight seem like a wonderful idea.

And although it might be creepy that it is possible to find out who is in your house by means of radio waves, presumably it's not significantly more intrusive than watching who comes through the door.

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

Warm Braw
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Re: MS abandoning Windows??

I've just resurrected Windows 2000 in order to run an old version of QuickBooks as I had no interest in paying the SaaS tax for the latest version just in order to produce some accounts for a small charitable group.

The only reason for having a recent version of Windows is in order to run recent versions of applications. If the applications are "in the cloud", then what would you particularly want Windows for? Would you want to pay a regular subscription for software that simply enabled you to access other software?

There is still a small category of applications that need precision pointing, large screens and/or local processing power, but the primary purpose of Windows - to provide a stable platform for a wide range of local application software - is much diminished. The issue for Microsoft is whether they concentrate on an increasingly niche market for which Windows is appropriate, or whether Windows effectively becomes another Android or iOS. They've pretty much failed at the latter and don't seem ready to accept the former.

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In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

Warm Braw
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Short-lived but well-received

Sounds like that other over-used euphemism, "critical success". In the end, it doesn't really matter whether you depend on subscribers or advertisers - you have to have a large enough readership * income-per-reader to cover your costs. That's always meant rationing and dumbing-down content in the interests of containing costs and maximising revenue.

The problem with advertising on the Internet is that it doesn't actually generate much income - either for the publisher or the traditional advertister (the intermediaries seem to do OK...) - so the traditional compromises have been taken to an extreme: clickbait content and scam advertisements.

I think we just have to accept that journalism is following music down the road to being an almost entirely amateur activity.

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Microsoft partners to fling out collabo-visual Ginormonitors this year

Warm Braw
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Why build the sensors into the screen?

Apart from the inventory issue this "new class" of device raises, I'm not sure I'd want to swap out a 70" screen just to upgrade, change (or fix) an environmental sensor.

Presumably, there's a use case I'm missing (besides not being a multinational corporation with a budget to spend on that up-and-coming IoT thing).

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Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6

Warm Braw
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And... this is where it gets political

It's been political from the very beginning.

There was a (technically) perfectly adequate proposal on the table from the IAB based on existing standards that got shot down owing to NIH. That was more than 20 years go. At that point there was a greater diversity of networking technologies and a window of opporunity for them to converge on IPv6: instead, they converged on IPv4.

And a lot of the intervening time has been spent elaborating recommended ways of transitioning, many of which have since been deprecated.

Whatever their internal disagreements, the IP community have a Unix-like disdain of outsiders, so I wouldn't assume automatically that the ITU's ideas are necessarily any more fanciful than have at times emerged from those of the true faith.

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Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

Warm Braw
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Re: Still waiting

Just wait until we build our own GPS system

In the event of a failure, I'm sure we'll be able to locate the culprits.

Oh, hang on...

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Chief EU negotiator tells UK to let souped-up data adequacy dream die

Warm Braw
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Re: The more I listen to the EU...

it's gone all binary

No, it was always binary. It's the Johnsons, Goves, Rees-Moggs and Murdochs of the world that spread the fantasy of a third way.

What you have to realise is that there are treaties in place - complex meshing treaties that have developed over the life of the EU. Given sufficient time and sufficient will, it might be possible to painstakingly renegotiate those treaties and then get them re-ratified through every country's federal and state legislatures. But there isn't the time (we leave in March) and there is unlikely to be the will since the other member states don't really get enough out of it.

It might well be possible to find a more rational settlement starting with a blank piece of paper and an infinite amount of time, but we start from where we are and have to end when the clock expires and Barnier is quite correct that the only way this is going to happen is if the EU can cut and paste an existing arrangement for the UK. There will be no bespoke deal, there cannot be a bespoke deal.

The UK started the clock without any idea what sort of outcome it wanted: it's not really the fault of the EU that last orders have been called for the Table d'Hote dinner menu while the UK is still hankering after the a la Carte lunch.

And frankly, the EU is now considerably more bothered about Italy than it cares about the UK.

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Trump’s new ZTE tweet trumps old ZTE tweets that trumped his first ZTE tweet

Warm Braw
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Re: Toddler

If only our government would take a leaf out of the US playbook, those assets - like golf courses - belonging to the principals in a regime threatening our economic security would already be emargoed or forfeit by the time he arrives. I don't think any other president has been so vulnerable to such action - and why we aren't exploiting it, I can't work out.

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Epyc fail? We can defeat AMD's virtual machine encryption, say boffins

Warm Braw
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Re: The attack can only be partially mtitigated

If the implementation of Secure Virtual Machines depends in any way on AMD's memory encryption support (and the API documentation linked from the article doesn't make this clear), I suspect it may in principle be vulnerable to side channel attacks (like SPECTRE/MELTDOWN).

The last time I checked the specs, AMD's memory encryption applies only to main memory and not to the caches. If there were a side channel attack based on cache timing, you could potentially use it as a way to bypass the encryption unless the cache contents were somehow tied to the VM ID.

It may well not be possible in practice - and there's been a lot of work done on preventing side channel attacks in recent months - but each feature you add to a CPU also increases the potential attack surface.

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Church of England will commune with God for you via Amazon's Echo

Warm Braw
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And presumably it should also be the Apple HomeGod...

Incidentally, good luck with the Google version - your most likely responses are going to be "I don't understand 'God'", "God is not available in your area right now" or "You need to configure a default God provider".

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Servers crashed and burned. So, Qualcomm's back to Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V'ing Arm cores into phones

Warm Braw
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This AI stuff is getting used more and more by apps for touching up and correcting colors and lighting in photos, detecting faces in images, classifying food snapped in pics, and so on

When we've taught AI how to make lives look better, more interesting and healthier than they actually are, it's only a matter of time before it decides the training data is superfluous...

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The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

Warm Braw
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If you have an older car and don't want to upgrade the stereo...

It's pretty hard to upgrade the "entertainment system" on cars these days - their CAN-extended tentacles are wrapped around too much of the vehicle's fabric. Gone are the days of just slipping the unit out of its DIN slot...

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

Warm Braw
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Re: RIAA factoid #17: the Missing Mozarts

The only reason that Mozart's (very incomplete) Requiem ever saw the light of day is that his widow needed it finishing in order to get the money from the commission - no residuals for her. Had she been able to rely on a steady income, the work would almost certainly have been entirely lost.

If you look at a list of "culturally significant" musicians, you won't find on it many people who made a lot of money during their lifetime and of those whose works were commercially successful, very little of that money will have ended up in their hands unless they had extremely good lawyers.

Not that this will matter to the rental slavesstreaming consumers who will happily pay their monthly fee in perpetutity without really caring that hardly any of it is going to the creators of the music or that their access to it could be withdrawn on a whim.

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Flamin' Nora! Brit firefighters tackle blazing fly-tipped boat

Warm Braw
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I was born in Sunderland and hundreds of years of cumulative fly-tipping is about the only thing that would explain it...

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Three-hour outage renders Nest-equipped smart homes very dumb

Warm Braw
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Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

I'll give Nest the benefit of the doubt when it comes to IoT security, but for many other brands of remote camera, a similar outage would at least mean that hundreds of other people weren't watching his child fall asleep either..

Edit: seems someone beat me to it ...

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Zuck to meet Euro MPs for ‘please explain’ session

Warm Braw
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Web giants must be responsible for the content

They got to be "web giants" precisely because they could claim not to be responsible for the content. The streams of indeterminate consciousness that pour from the vapid and the vile are not only cheap to produce, but they're popular. Once you clamp down on that, Facebook et al don't really have a viable business model. While they may deserve little sympathy, they're not going to give up such a large source of easy money without a considerable fight.

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US senators ask FTC to investigate Google's Location imbroglio

Warm Braw
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Re: Google location services

If you have a Google Home device (and I only got one to evaluate for a disabled relative), it simply refuses to work unless you turn on both search history and location history - though you can set it up with a new Google account - which by definition has accumulated no history - and it will work just fine (at least to the usual Google approximation of "work").

Prime case for GDPR, I would have thought.

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Boffins urge Google to drop military deal after Googlers storm out over AI-based super-drones

Warm Braw
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looks like my next phone will be an apple one

And your next arse an iCrac?

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Britain to slash F-35 orders? Erm, no, scoffs Lockheed UK boss

Warm Braw
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A smart government would make them subject to punitive import duties and/or economic sanctions to offset those imposed by the US and deem the penalty clause void.

Seems to be the way international relations work these days...

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Every major OS maker misread Intel's docs. Now their kernels can be hijacked or crashed

Warm Braw
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Re: the easier it is to get it (horribly) wrong.

No exceptions?

Merely traps for the unwary...

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Adobe, 'hyper personalisation' and your privacy

Warm Braw
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Re: Why do they all have such lame examples of personalisation

their thought processes

I'm pretty sure that the people at Shell know full well that fundamentally nobody really cares what brand of fuel goes in their car just as fundamentally nobody really cares what brand of washing powder they use.

The whole [vacuous] point of marketing is to take essentially fungible products and pretend they have some essential distinction and the reason so much money is spent on doing so is that it's actually quite hard, but the rewards are huge if you get it right.

I'm sure major brands are very keen to meet "Tom" - a loyal customer with a connected care [sic] and a smart home is the very definition of an idiot who will buy anything. "Personalisation" in this context is simply a euphemism for identifying easy marks - it's really just victim targetting.

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Heir to SMS finally excites carriers, by making Google grovel

Warm Braw
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Re: Bloat

Even today, inter-network SMS gateways are tied together with damp string, so I'm not sure the carriers are the obvious people to implement anything more complicated.

Moreover, if RCS is built on SIP. the only reason I can think of for not running it directly on top of IP is the inherently ougoing-only connection model of the current NAT'ed IPv4 implementations run by the telcos. I assume IPv6 would solve that problem better than some bodged-up system for generating carrier income.

I think that's the first time I've said something favourable about IPv6. I need to lie down now...

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Google Pay heads for the desktop... and, we fear, an inevitable flop

Warm Braw
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As for mobile wallets...

I don't know what percentage of Android phones have NFC at this point, but none has that I have owned to date. That does put Google on the back foot in its attempt to have a significant presence in mobile payments - Apple has the margin in its products to include the necessary hardware but that's not true for budget Android kit.

I certainly wouldn't be looking to fork out for one of the SIM-less fragile glass touchscreen phones trending towards £1,000 simply in order to replace a piece of plastic. And with most online retailers trying desperately to get you to store your card details with them for "your convenience", I'm not sure what significant problem is solved by having a desktop intermediary (who will presumably want its cut).

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IT systems still in limbo as UK.gov departments await Brexit policy - MPs

Warm Braw
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Re: The Agri & Horticultural Development Board impact study reckons most british farmers..

Maybe the fishermen won't have to abide by the hated fishing quota system?

Maybe no-one will. It's not just the IT that's ill-prepared...

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Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us

Warm Braw
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Re: Idiots

The rationale for Galileo is that the EU can't trust the US. The rationale for a UK system is presumably that we can't trust the US or the EU (and vice versa). In the latter case, I'm not quite sure that being able to dispatch HMS Elizabeth the Empty to a precise location where the sailors will proceed to run around the deck with their arms outstretched pretending to be aeroplanes is the military solution we will be needing.

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Open Internet lovin' Comcast: Buy our TV service – or no faster broadband for you!

Warm Braw
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I ditched Sky last year due to the non stop price hikes

I've just had two unsolicited letters in the space of two weeks from Sky confirming that my "half price" fibre broadband offer is being extended into its third year (actually, possibly fourth by the end as they reset my contract date when I moved) and reminding me of that in case I'd not noticed.

All I had to do originally to get it was to log in and threaten to cancel: no human intervention, no-one to argue with. I suspect that once you are deemed to be the kind of customer that accepts a price hike, you keep getting them.

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What could Facebook possibly do next to reassure privacy fears? Yup – make a dating app

Warm Braw
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Re: Facebook wants you to share its delusion

That's delusional

It's deliberate misdirection.

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UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

Warm Braw
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Re: And some 40 million citizens using your thing

I didn't know Mark Zuckerberg read El Reg

But he knows that you do...

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Firefox to feature sponsored content as of next week

Warm Braw
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Re: The problem lies deeper

The problem is that browsers now are so incredibly complex that you need a large corporation to support them

Large corporations are now in charge of the specifications. Without independent specifications, there's no point in Firefox simply being a "me too".

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Exposing 145m Equifax customer deets: $240m. Legal fees: $28.9m. Insurance: Priceless

Warm Braw
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Cost the credit reporting agency?

They get their money thruogh what is effectively a private tax on consumers' financial transactions. In the end, it will cost them nothing - they'll just nudge up their charges to claw it back.

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Can't log into your TSB account? Well, it's your own fault for trying

Warm Braw
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We are currently experiencing large volumes of customers

At least that's a problem that will solve itself...

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I spy with my little eye ... a quantum drum with TRILLIONS of atoms

Warm Braw
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More humane than using the entire cat

That's merely your sup(er)position.

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Europe fires back at ICANN's delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year

Warm Braw
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ICANN don't register domains, the registrars contract with ICANN to offer that service to their customers.

The GDPR will invalidate part of the contract between the registrars and ICANN insofar as it involves doing business in the EU - you can't be bound by a contract to break the law - but the rest of the registrars' contracts with their individual custmoers will remain in force.

If the registrars fail to abide by the GDPR they will be prosecuted by the appropriate authority in the relevant EU country. If they withdraw their services they will be subject to claims for breach of contract by their customers and lose a significant part of their revenue.

With luck, it will be ICANN that explodes, but the more useless and idle an organisation is, the longer it seems to persist in its irrelevance.

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TSB boss: We know everything's working, you just can't see that

Warm Braw
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if IT is incompetent hire a firm that is not

Since banking these days is almost nothing but IT, why would a bank outsource almost its entire business?

And the same question goes to almost every other service industry and government...

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Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music

Warm Braw
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Re: Worried about Digital download's future

It's not just digital downloads - the trend is to eliminate the concept of ownership for everything: houses, cars - even clothing - as well as entertainment.

It used to be the less well off who were at perpetual risk of their white goods and furniture being taken away when they couldn't meet the HP payments. Now, increasingly, everyone is at risk of stuff they believe to be "theirs" disappearing either because their circumstances change or because the circumstances of the provider change - they go bust, change their business model, get bored, ...

HP existed because of the high purchase cost of the items concerned but the actual cost to the business of renting out digital content is peanuts (the artists involved typically get next to nothing), In other words, renting has gone from a way of making things affordable for people of limited means to making things more expensive and profitable. I really don't understand why so many people seem OK with being trapped in perpetual usury.

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Bargain-happy Brits snub big four mobile network operators

Warm Braw
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Re: It would have been useful

Gifgaf is supported by their own customers and would be useless for many who have a general lack of confidence with Computers/Forums

In my experience, giffgaff support is useless without qualification. Because of the perverse incentives, immediately anyone posts a problem, dozens of people post boilerplate responses so quickly they clearly haven't had time even to read through the post to which they're responding in the hope of being first to get acknowledged as having provided the solution. Most of the "helpful" advice I have looked at is, if not totally wrong, entirely irrelevant.

It's also no worse than the kind of support you get from traditional networks, because actually that's exactly how their systems work too, only they pay their drones in small amounts of money rather than in small amounts of air time.

The point about giffgaff is that you don't mind the lack of customer service so much when you're paying £10pcm for unlimited minutes.

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UK's Department of Fun seeks data strategy head – experience not needed

Warm Braw
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Offering up senior roles ... without calling for knowledge

Isn't that SOP for the Civil Service? Keep moving everyone around so they don't get "infected" by dangerous knowledge that could lead them to question the policy proposals of the even-more-frequently moved politicos?

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Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

Warm Braw
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Re: Why's it mounted on the door?

I assume because you want the handle on the door as that's the bit that moves. Having the handle operate the latch means that opening the door is a one-handed operation and integrating the deadbolt makes for a one box solution.

You'd need quite a big frame to fit a decent traditional bolt (because it has to be able to accommodate the bit that would be in the door when the door is unlocked).

A lot of door entry systems use electric strike plates (precisely because of the ease of wiring), though they always seem quite flimsy to me. I suppose you could make an unlocking strike from a motorized vertical bolt in the frame - that might be be a bit more secure without having to rebuild the entire entrace to accommodate it.

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There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Warm Braw
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I'm also a grumpy old man, but I'm glad Wikipedia was there to remind me of the approximate date of Juvenal's reference to panem et circenses.. It was Aristotle who said of youths: They think they know everything; it's not exactly a new phenomenon.

Thanks to the Internet, I have the opportunity to be better informed about a wider range of subjects than has ever been possible hitherto. And so does everyone else, if they're prepared to take it. Is that a bad thing?

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